Monday, May 19, 2008

I Spent the Weekend Urging Women Not to Write Like This

So right after I spent a weekend teaching women that the most effective op-eds rarely need the phrase “I think” in them and should have point, suddenly in the Washington Post’s Outlook section is the silliest, most pointless ode to Sex in the City. (Sunday’s Post was an ode to overly-long, overly-pointless odes to movies. There was also this “what does Indiana Jones mean” article, but at least it was in the style section).

I cannot for the life of me figure out what is the point to Ashley Sayeau’s article. It’s basically about how she relates to Sex in the City because once she wrote an academic paper about it. Which, fine, I know some things about writing academic papers about TV shows, but to be relevant to other readers it might have been useful not to use the phrase “I thought” or “I think” or “I believe” close to 30 times! It ends up being not about her research but just that she’s an academic who is a fan who squeals with delight seeing the movie premier. Great.

She’s not even a local writer. She’s a freelancer in London. Why does she get front page of the Sunday Outlook section to write what amounts to an overlong, fan-specific, blog post?

Combine this with the infamous Charlotte Allen “Women are dumb” op-ed you have to wonder what John Pomfret, Sunday Outlook editor wants his section to say to women. I don’t believe he’s not getting great, substantial Outlook submissions. I think he’s making his section reflect certain type of believe that women are shallow and dumb.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the Sex and the City phenomenon and the Post's giving it so much ink, but I think the Charlotte Allen article seems to criticize women like Ashley Sayeau. Perhaps her error is in the generalization--but I don't think she is really saying all women are dumb, so much as criticizing those women who live on the banalities of the media. Sort of like a Catholic writing an article asking why Catholics aren't more like Protestants in their zeal; or a sportswriter criticizing his team in comparison to another.

Jim in Cleveland